Copenhagen with kids

Copenhagen is a compact city that’s easy to explore on foot. And it’s a very child-friendly city, with countless activities and attractions to entertain young travellers.

Changing the Guard at Amelienborg Palace, Copenhagen
Changing the Guard at Amelienborg Palace / Bjonsson (CC)

Whether your little ones prefer to be indoors or out, active or relaxed, the Danish capital has something fun for all ages. Here are some of the best options for exploring Copenhagen with little ones!

Copenhagen’s main sights

Sightseeing with kids can be a chore, but pick your area carefully and you can keep them engaged.

It’s just a short walk along the waterfront from the colourful old houses of Nyhavn to the Royal Palace of Amalienborg, which is watched over by the smartly-uniformed Royal Life Guards.

Littel Mermaid, Copenhagen, Denmark
The Little Mermaid / Maria Eklind (CC)

Try to arrive at noon, so you can see the colourful Changing of the Guard – and if the Queen is at home, there’ll be a marching band too.

From here, it’s a just a hop and a skip along the waterfront to the iconic Little Mermaid statue perched on the harbour’s edge. Avoid the crowds and hassle by reading this guide first!

Your kids may know her as the heroine of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale or from the Disney film – but either way, she’s a key Copenhagen sight.

Recommended tour: Copenhagen small group grand tour

Is the Copenhagen Card worth buying?

Read this guide to see how much you could save during your trip!

Castles and forts

Kids love castles and Copenhagen has plenty to explore, including Kastellet, one of Europe’s oldest functioning fortresses, surrounded by a moat and home to a historic windmill.

Older children will enjoy Rosenborg Castle, dating from 1606 and home to Denmark’s Crown Jewels. Its sweeping grounds, Kongens Have (the King’s Gardens) make a wonderful place to relax or burn off some excess energy.

Recommended tour: City tour including Rosenborg Castle

Rides and entertainment

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen is great for kids
Tivoli Gardens

Founded in 1843, Tivoli Gardens is the world’s second oldest amusement park, and was the inspiration for Disney’s vast theme parks.

It’s charming and historic, with well laid-out gardens and child-friendly rides plus a fantastic playground.

The amusements tend to be more low-key than their Disney equivalents, with rides such as vintage cars and The Flying Trunk, a journey through the tales of Hans Christian Andersen.

Performances for young people are also held throughout the day on an open-air stage.

And there are plenty of fun places to eat, such as Pirateriet, in a pirate ship on a lake, and Rasmus Klump Pankagehuset, a pancake house inside a cartoon whale.

Recommended ticket: Tivoli Gardens skip-the-line pass

Museums and history

National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
National Museum of Denmark / Jacob Wang (CC)

The National Museum of Denmark contains a fantastic collection of historical artefacts and exhibits, from the Stone Age onwards.

But what will really appeal is its Children’s Museum, where kids can explore the past, by taking a trip on a Viking ship or attending a Copenhagen school in the 1930s.

Children are encouraged to touch and interact with the exhibits. At weekends they can seek out Boredom Buttons hidden around the museum – when pushed they unveil secret surprises, from talking paintings to treasure chests.

And not only do children enter the museum for free, adults receive a discount too when visiting with a child. 

For something completely different, try the Blue Planet, Denmark’s national aquarium – it’s a real architectural marvel, complete with close-up exhibits and a walk-through tunnel!

Top tip: Public transport in Copenhagen is free for up to two kids under 12 when travelling with an adult.

Swimming, cycling and other outdoor activities

Copenhagen is the world’s most cycle-friendly city – and bikes are the most popular form of transport here. So join the locals, by renting a cargo bike and peddling your kids around the city.

Islands Brygge Harbour Baths is great for children, Copenhagen
Islands Brygge Harbour Baths / Naotake Murayama (CC)

Swimming is very popular in summer, and Copenhagen Harbour is clean enough to swim in. On a warm day, head to the Islands Brygge Harbour Baths with its man-made pools, including two specifically for children. There are more great swimming spots in this guide.

If you’d rather be on the water than in it, Stromma runs a one-hour canal tour round the harbour to give you overview of the city.

And if your kids just want to run around, the city is filled with parks and green spaces for them to let off steam.

Day trips from Copenhagen

If you want to escape the city, it’s just a 20-minute train trip to Dyrehaven, a sprawling nature reserve in Klampenborg that’s packed with walking trails and more than 2000 deer which are easily spotted around the park.

Dyrehaven is also home to Bakken, the world’s oldest amusement park, which started life in the sixteenth century as a mineral spring. It’s free to enter with a range of rides (which cost extra) and games for all ages.

Bakken is one of Copenhagen's best attractions for kids
Bakken

Alternatively, the Frilandsmuseet open-air museum, at Lyngby is just 40 minutes from Copenhagen. Here, kids can explore recreated historic buildings, a windmill and pet the farm animals, or take a horse-drawn wagon ride.

There are more ideas for day trips from Copenhagen in this guide.

Child-friendly eats

Copenhagen’s food markets are a lot of fun – and they’re great for family dining.

Take the harbour bus to Reffen, a street food market housed in shipping containers, or check out the three levels of stalls selling food from all over the world at Boltens Food Court.

Another good option is Torvehallerne, a glass market hall and foodie paradise, with stalls serving a range of dishes and cuisines in a relaxed atmosphere.

Check out child-friendly cafés, too, such as Sweet Surrender and the Laundromat Café, both of which have children’s play areas.

Relaxed chains like Cock’s and Cows burger joints and the Italian Vapianos are also a safe bet for a fun and casual meal with kids.

The city’s bakeries are also a must-visit – what child doesn’t love a soft fluffy cinnamon roll? Local chain Lagkagehuset has some of the best pastries in town.

See also:
The best canal tours and boat trips in Copenhagen
Viking Attractions in and around Copenhagen
Where to eat Danish pastries in Copenhagen

For more by author Caroline Hadamitzky, check out her website lovelivetravel.co.uk

 

TOURS AND ACTIVITIES IN COPENHAGENMORE TOURS

 


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